Earlier this year, NFIB joined with some other industry groups and sued to stop Washington State’s recently enacted initiative raising minimum wage and imposing paid sick leave requirements on employers. The Coalition argued that this initiative violated the Washington Constitution, which prohibits initiatives that address multiple subjects at the same time. The “single subject rule” is intended to protect the integrity of the initiative process and ensure that voters are not forced to choose between supporting measures that they find partially problematic or opposing those they like. Perhaps ominously, the (more conservative) Arizona courts recently rejected a similar challenge to a nearly identical initiative. Nonetheless, we were optimistic that things might play out differently in Washington. But unfortunately, a Kittitas County judge ruled that Washington’s single subject rule is flexible enough to allow initiatives covering separate subjects, as long as they all fit under a more general category of “labor regulation.”
Though we disagree with the decision, the Coalition ultimately decided against pursuing an appeal. For now, this means that we’re moving on to fight other battles for the small business community. Specifically, we’re going to continue our special focus on reigning-in municipal authorities seeking to impose heightened minimum wage and paid sick leave requirements on small business.